A team of Nigerians in Space Science, under the umbrella of Astronomers Without Borders Nigeria (AWBNigeria), a non-governmental organization responsible for popularizing Astronomy and spreading space science education, awareness and developments in Nigeria, were among those who discovered asteroids during the just concluded asteroid search campaign organized by International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC), a NASA affiliate under which this search campaign was carried out. The Nigerian team made these discoveries through analyzing some image sets by using a special computer software called Astrometrical. These image data are taken by the PAN – STARRS, a telescope at the University of Hawaii.
These asteroid search campaigns allow participants around the world to make important discoveries of Main Belt asteroids (MBAs) and occasionally of trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs). Image data for general asteroid search campaigns are provided by the Institute for Astronomy (IfA) at the University of Hawaii. IfA uses the 1.8-m Pan-STARRS telescope located on Haleakalā to take images along the ecliptic where most asteroids are found.
The AWB Nigeria team, led by Miracle Chibuzor Marcel, a graduate of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Nigeria Nsukka, had participants ranging from university undergraduates and young professionals from diverse STEM backgrounds, drawn from different parts of the country.
The team had to undergo a training on the use of the asteroid search software by the team leader and thereafter, the image sets were downloaded and analyzed accordingly. During the entire search window, twenty-seven sets of images were received by the team at different time intervals, out of which tens of unknown moving asteroids were detected. At the end of the campaign, it was confirmed that the Nigeria team has made three preliminary discoveries of 3 different asteroids: P11iDr9, P11iEYU and P11iEZq.
Team Nigeria received accolades from Cassidy Davis, the IASC coordinator for their efforts. In the coming months, their observations will undergo further studies which include determining the asteroids’ orbits and orbital parameters, after which the discoverers will finally have the opportunity to name their discoveries.
According to available information on International Preliminaries, it was observed that Nigeria, Ghana and Benin Republic, which were trained by the AWB Team leader, were the only African countries that participated from the Sub Saharan region. These countries also made preliminary discoveries. The AWB team hopes to coordinate more African countries to be a part of future asteroids search.
Asteroids pose a very big danger to the lives on Earth as their orbits change significantly. One of them could someday head towards Earth. A typical instance of this is the Mount Everest sized Asteroid which hit and eliminated all the dinosaurs off the coast of Mexico 6.5 million years ago. More recently, in 2013, a NEO exploded near Chelyabinsk, Russia injuring more than a thousand people. That is why this campaign is very important to NASA.

A Historical Conjunction Between Jupiter And Saturn Sets On December 21st


On Monday, the 21st of December, Earthlings will observe ones in a 20 year event known as the conjunction which will be between the last two naked eye planets, Jupiter and Saturn, of which they will appear much closer as if they are merging. But in reality, the distance between these two celestial objects  still stands at 4.32 AU or 646.3 million km. The matter is that they just got aligned in the sky from our perspective.


Meaning of Conjunction

So many meanings can be read from the sentence “Alignment of Planets”. To make it clearer, beginning with the fact that all the planets in the solar system revolve round the sun, through a common disc-like plane known as the ecliptic. For that reason, these planets align and appear to be merging, and we call that “The conjunction”. This conjunction can happen in a variety of ways: a conjunction in which a celestial object completely obscures the other is called “Occultation”. We witnessed this between our Moon and Mars at the beginning of the last quarter of 2020 in which the former completely blocked the latter in the night sky. In fact, this is some worth like an eclipse. But we specially use the word “Eclipse” to denote the alignment among any of the Moon, the Earth and the Sun.


Mars – Moon Occultation. Image credit: Slooh


On the other hand, if any celestial object partially obscures the other, we call it “Transit”. But in general, conjunction does not necessarily require alignment. There could be a conjunction between a planet and a background star or a galaxy. Simply put, conjunction is an event that involves the meeting of celestial bodies relative to our vantage point.


How much Of Them Can We See?

Both Jupiter and Saturn currently located at Capricornus constellation normally have apparent magnitudes of -2.2 and 0.46 respectively, that implies that Jupiter is 12 times brighter than Saturn in the logarithm scale. So since the beginning of December both planets have been seemingly racing alongside, but on 21st they will come much closer just merely separated by a distance smaller than the size of a full Moon. In terms of angular resolution, they will be separated at 0.1 arcminute. An angular resolution is a term used in Astrophysics to quantify the ability of an instrument or a living thing to distinguish two separate light sources, be it the two headlamps of an incoming vehicle or two stars in the sky. At this value of 0.1 arcminute, all humans with normal sight will be able to see this conjunction which will be towards the southwest at every sunset. It is also safe to use binoculars or telescopes to have a better sight of them, most especially, their moons and rings.


Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech


Why there is Jupiter and Saturn Conjunction

As earlier said, it is worthy to note that this event between Jupiter and Saturn always occurs ones every 20 years. This is because the two target planets move pretty slow. They are very far away from the sun, and from the laws of orbital mechanics, the farther away an object is relative to the point mass, the slower its speed,  so they orbit slowly.

In addition to that, because it takes Jupiter and Saturn approximately 12 and 30 years respectively, to make a revolution, from simple mathematical analysis, the two should align at one time in their rendezvous.


Image of Jupiter and Saturn captured using the Slooh’s telescopes on December 18 Image credit: Slooh


A brief History of Jupiter and Saturn Conjunction

The conjunction of December 21st is a special one because: it will be visible in the evenings just shortly after sunset and will be pretty close to each other. But unlike it, which dominated the conjunctions of other times which includes the conjunction of 1623 BC, that is, 400 years ago (during Galileo times), had their appearances mostly in the day time where the sun’s rays made them almost impossible to be observed. One other kind of conjunction that have the same similarities with this December 21st  as mentioned earlier is the conjunction of 1226 BC, that is, 800 years ago which was widely observed, according NASA’s Astronomer, Dr Henry.


All about other designated names of the Conjunction

Since we all learned about the coming of this conjunction, many fancy names tagged to it have been going viral, some calling it, “Christmas star, “Bethlehem Star”, “The great conjunction” etc. The latter has conflicting meanings given to it, on some websites, it was explained that “Great” was used to indicate that the conjunction is between the two most massive planets in our solar system, while other sources said it is because it happens ones every 20 years. Either one of the two still sounds great though.

On the other hand, why the name “Christmas star” or “Bethlehem star”? Also according to Dr. Henry, for ages, people have been looking up and studying the stars and the planets. They do have this tendency of incorporating the knowledge which they gained in astronomy into their respective religions, cultures and beliefs. So this star of Bethlehem, we believe, was due to the events of the night sky which involved the three wise men, during when Christ was born, around 7 BC. It could be that what they observed was this kind of conjunction or it could even be a comet. But since there was no record of any professional observation, we cannot say what really went on.

For more information on how to take photographs or viewing it live, check Slooh star party.

Wishing you a clear sky

Great South America Total Solar Eclipse on Dec 14th


In this year 2020, Earth has witnessed eclipses a number of times, including both lunar and solar, about six (6) of them. The forthcoming would be the sixth and the last for this year, a total solar eclipse.

We witness solar eclipses or eclipse of the Sun not only because the New Moon gets positioned and aligned in-between Earth and the Sun. But because of the simple reason that the Sun’s diameter is approximately 400 times larger than the Moon. And Sun-Earth distance is also approximately 400 times the Earth-Moon distance. So from simple geometry, relative to the Earth, the Moon and the Sun appear to be the same size.

Now, whether it will be a total solar eclipse or annular solar eclipse will depend on the elliptical orbit of the Moon round the Earth. Apogee is the point of the orbit at which the moon is furthest away from Earth which is the one we see during annular solar eclipses. While Perigee is the case at which the moon is closest to Earth and at which point we observe a total solar eclipse, like the one which we are about to observe on December 14.

During total solar eclipses, as the Moon continues to transit, its shadow creates a path called the Path of Totality on the surface of the Earth. Regions around this path will observe Partial solar eclipse. And for any given point on the Earth which has witnessed a total solar eclipse, will see another round of it in the next 400 years.

This upcoming total solar eclipse dubbed the Great South America Total eclipse will make first appearance as a partial solar eclipse at the Southern Pacific Ocean by 1:34 p.m UTC and about one hour later, that is,  at 2:32 pm UTC, the Moon’s umbra will fully emerge. Both will then proceed due East, touching some parts of South American Continent like: Chile and Argentina.  And will come to a halt over the Southern Atlantic Ocean, of the coast of Southwest Africa at 6:53 p.m UTC.

Image Credit:


The event can be viewed on several astronomy channels worldwide.

You can follow NASA guidelines on observing solar eclipses.

Wishing you all a favorable weather conditions.

COVID-19 Support for Internally Displaced Persons Project

Due to insurgency in several parts of Northern Nigeria, there are over 2 million displaced persons in the country spread across IDP camps and host communities. In Abuja, there are 28,000 IDP’s residing in different camps in the city. In 2019, OAD sponsored the IDP Children’s Astronomy Outreach Project in Abuja, FCT. The camp has over 2500 inhabitants mostly living in overcrowded rooms and shared facilities, including the over 500 children that are benefitting from the solar powered learning hub installed in their camp ground.

Due to the fact that their facility is overcrowded leaves ground for easy spread of COVID19 virus if an index case arises in their camp. This project delivered a 5-point hand washing station in the camp, as well as, Posters in Hausa and English Language about the dangers of COVID19, precautionary measures and lifestyles changes that they should take into cognizance. Also, the project delivered hand sanitizers, disinfectants, face masks, other general cleaning supplies and food supplies. As part of the efforts in sustaining the solar powered learning hub, Android tablets and a Desktop PC were provided at the IDP camp.

COVID-19 Support for IDP’s video summary

Worthy of note is the fact that we partnered with the Skilled Women Initiative to train some women in the IDP camp to produce hand sanitizers. All the sanitizers distributed for the project were made in-house. The launch of the project was aired on National Television, NTA (Nigerian Television Authority)

We appreciate the IAU/OAD for funding this project and our partners at the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons.


AstroArt Contest Winners Emerge

The winners of the AstroArt Contest for both Primary and Secondary categories have emerged. They are as follows:


  1. 1st Position, Primary Category- Cornelia Uzuezi Egbodor (+2348023160109)
1st Position, Primary category

MOTIVATION: This painting is an imaginative art of the first Nigerian astronaut to go to the moon. It shows that we as Nigerians can do anything we put our mind to do, and the sky is not the limit, but a checkpoint in our journey to the top. This is the visual representation of the saying,’Reach for the sky.’ The Nigerian flag on the moon signifies Nigerians leaving a significant mark, never to be forgotten, wherever we go.

2. 2nd Position, Primary Category- Okeke Priscilla (+2348034731961)

2nd Position, Primary Category

MOTIVATION: Most stories or movies show aliens as bad people but in this story An astronaut meets an alien and they quickly become friends and at that moment the astronaut was showing the alien some stars and their names.

3. 3rd Position, Primary Category- Obi-Ukpabi Einstein (+2348060039484)

3rd Position, Primary category

MOTIVATION: Whenever i imagine space i equally marvel at the cutting edge technology that encourages man on his curiosity. At home i sit paying apt attention to the Television screen i see large rockets boring holes in the sky, i see satellites and space probes, they are all amazing i also see how everyone in the mission control jubilates and jump for joy whenever a satellite arrives safely on Earth’s orbit. So when i heard about the competition i thought it would be a great idea to incorporate blasting off of rockets into my painting and i sure do hope it wins!


  1. 1st Position, Secondary Category- Ajibade Oluwatobi Taiwo Joseph (+2348036789714)
1st Position, Secondary category

MOTIVATION: What inspired me to do this painting was my dream to become an astronaut to discover more about space and UFO’s.

2. 2nd Position, Secondary category- Binogun Shulammite (+2348033042743)

2nd Position, Secondary category

I am in love with space, which makes most people consider me as a nerd. I consider space as place that is dazzling, complex but in apple – pie – order.
In my minds eye, I see myself in space, and I see space as a field where gravity is no king, filled with wonders like planets, over sextillion stars etc.
The most intriguing fact is that only 4 percent has been explored, the remaining 96 percent has not been seen, I think that’s amazing and I’ll love to explore its uniqueness and beauty someday.

3. 3rd Position, Secondary category- Chizitere Okorie (+2348033026136)

3rd Position, Secondary category

MOTIVATION: This image captures everything that makes our galaxy spectacular.

The planets – unique in their beauty, differing shapes and sizes. The stars look minuscule to the graceful sun but serve a similar purpose to other solar systems.

The odd-looking, outer-worldly aliens and their ships built to enter the earth’s atmosphere; and creatures feared because of their ability to consign us in jars; or feed us to their ravenous mutations.

The human inventions created for space exploration is the complicated telescopes for stars study; space shuttles; astronauts and NASA who never give up, but have through science conquered frontiers never before known.


We have equally great paintings as well from 4th to 10th positions in each of the 2 categories who will be getting consolation prizes. The motivation story behind each of these paintings are amazing!!! Entries were graded on the paintings and motivation stories.

REPORT: IDP Children Astronomy Outreach Project & COVID-19 Support for IDP’s

Because of ethno-religious conflicts and terrorism, Nigeria has over 2 million internally displaced persons (IDP’s), 80% of which are women and children according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). 42% of the internally displaced persons live in camps and camp like settings, while 58% live in host communities. One common result of this displacement is that it affects the education and mental health of the children displaced. In a lot of cases, the children drop out of school. This has resulted to an increase in the number of out-of-school children in Nigeria to 13.2 million children. This problem breeds grounds for inequality, illiteracy, peace & security problems and other developmental challenges for the future of the IDP children. As displaced children, they face an uncertain future, where it may be difficult to compete with their mates in other stable region in terms of education. Some of the children deal with psychological trauma and hopelessness as a result of their experiences during the conflicts.

According to the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian affairs, there are 2375 locations, where internally displaced persons live. These sites include 293 camps and camp-like settings, and 2082 locations where IDP’s reside with host communities. These camps and host communities are mostly in the northeastern region of Nigeria including Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe states. There are other locations in the middle belt of Nigeria. For example, in the Federal Capital Territory, there are 26,460 internally displaced persons living in 41 settlement camps. There are others in Kogi, Kaduna, Benue, Nassarawa and Plateau states.

This project works to address these issues by setting up solar powered learning hubs in their camps and locations, as well as, use seasoned counsellors to conduct Cognitive Behavioural Therapy assessment on the IDP children. The assessments help to determine the state of their mental health. We partner with other organizations to ensure that those that need further help get the desired attention & care. The main objective of this project is to use astronomy as a tool to counsel, heal and inspire traumatized children that have been displaced due to conflicts in Nigeria. This project employs an interdisciplinary approach to achieve its objectives. Teams of counsellors conduct Cognitive Behavioural Therapy assessment on the children to ascertain the state of their mental health. The data gotten from the assessment helps the project team refer the children for the required mental health care. The IDP’s are located in remote locations mostly without electricity, therefore, a team of engineers’ set-up a solar-powered learning hub to serve as one of the deliverables of the project. The solar-powered learning hub comprises of solar-panels, inverter&batteries, Smart screen, HD-drive, Internet router and charging ports, all in a refurbished 40ft-shipping container. The solar powered learning hub is for the children to have access to learning material, and for the project team to engage the children remotely. Other project team members serve as science- communicators who are passionate about making tangible impacts using science. As their needs go beyond all these, the project makes provision of relief materials for the IDP’s. This project is an IAU/OAD funded project in its second round of funding for execution on a different IDP camp.

Interior of the shipping container before refurbishment
Interior of the shipping container before refurbishment
Interior of shipping container before refurbishment 2
Interior of shipping container before refurbishment 2

Data retrieved from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) assessments on IDP children at an IDP camp in Durunmi in North-Central Nigeria shows that 67% of the children had mild to severe depression; 55% had mild to severe anxiety disorders; 51% had mild to severe stress conditions. 27 girls reported cases of sexual abuse confidentially to the counsellors. The number of children examined was 250 boys and 250 girls. The data has been shared with the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian affairs for further action and engagement with the appropriate authorities. The learning hub has been very effective in bringing an affinity for science to the children. We monitor their progress by periodic testing and the results have been encouraging. From our last session in February, before the general lockdown of the country, the counsellor recorded 12% reduction in cases with anxiety, stress and depression from a sample size of 45 children.

Our approach employs an interdisciplinary approach to be able to meet our objective of counseling, healing and inspiring the IDP children beyond their current predicament. The reason for an interdisciplinary approach is to deal with the situation of the IDP children holistically, because their needs go beyond Education alone. As a project team, we envision our roles as science communicators as influential agents in the society we find ourselves in. But not just any science communicator: as astronomy science communicators. Astronomy is indeed a unique science with the advantage of giving us a sense of place, a sense of scale, a sense of wonder. Astronomy helps us rise beyond ourselves and look at our planet for what it truly is: borderless and unique. So, as astronomy communicators, we have the vital role of reaching out to the public to start a movement for tolerance, peace and critical thinking. Also, this project uses indigenous language to teach STEM and also for counseling.

Refurbished interior of shipping container
Refurbished interior of shipping container
Refurbished shipping container, now solar powered learning hub
Refurbished shipping container, now solar powered learning hub

In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is of great necessity that we provide support for the IDP’s. There is an apparent danger should an index case arise in the IDP camp because of the overcrowded living conditions in the camp. We plan to build hand washing points, distribute face masks, sanitizers, relief materials and posters that highlight the dangers of the COVID-19 virus. We will use this opportunity to install a desktop PC and provide android tablets for the IDP children, which came as extra support from the Office of Astronomy for Development. The Office of Astronomy for Development has supported this initiative with 20000 ZAR and we will be looking to raise funds to cover for all the objectives that we hope to achieve. Please support us with donations to the following account:

BENEFICIARY NAME: Astronomers Without Borders Nigeria Network



BANK: United Bank for Africa Plc, Nigeria


Fundraiser for COVID-19 support for IDP's
Fundraiser for COVID-19 support for IDP’s

As an organization, our main objective is to spread astronomy and its benefits throughout Nigeria. The vision for this project is to have learning hubs installed in all IDP locations. The predicament of the IDP’s has a potential to affect their all-round development. This project will give the IDP’s the ability to dream and to be able to compete with their mates in other stable regions of the country. Establishing learning hubs in their camps and supporting them with psycho-social therapy will go a long way in helping the IDP’s to move away from seeking aids, rather to be stakeholders in the development of their society. This will also help in alleviating the number of out of school children in Nigeria. That number stands at 13.2 million today. This project also helps to promote a culture of peace, tolerance and critical thinking.

Astro Art Contest (Deadline: August 15, 2020)

Astronomers Without Borders (AWB) Nigeria presents the maiden Edition of the Astro Art Contest for Elementary and High School kids in Nigeria.
The contest provides opportunities for kids aged 7-17 years in Nigeria to express their *Imaginations* of Outer Space in paintings!
The call for entries is now open!
The star prizes in this contest are SSVI homemade telescopes (Newton, refractor, two small spectroscopes). Other available prizes include Tablets, Solar glasses, Astronomy Hands on activities kits, NASA and OAD branded bags, AWB branded T-Shirts, among others.
For entries submission, painting should be done on an A4 sized paper accompanied with a short write up (not more than 150 words) describing the art work to be uploaded using the link:
Deadline is 15th August, 2020.

Annular Solar Eclipse on June 21, 2020. What Holds for Africa?

On the 21st of this month of June, our planet Earth will witness the 3rd out of six (6) rounds of eclipses scheduled for the year 2020. The first two eclipses were lunar eclipses which occurred on January 10th and June 5th. They were both observed from Africa. The forthcoming will be a solar eclipse. The remaining three (3) will be: July 5th Lunar eclipse, November 30 Lunar eclipse and December 14 Solar eclipse.


This occurs when the moon comes between the Sun and the Earth in such a way they become so aligned or almost aligned in a straight form.  This results in some parts of  the Earth to be partially of totally obscured from the rays of sunlight. Solar eclipses can as well be called “eclipse of the Sun” and it should be noted that it happens during new moon but not during all new moon.

Image showing during solar eclipse, the moon is between Earth and the Sun. Image credit: NASA

There are three (3) but four (4) types of solar eclipses:

Image credit: national eclipse. com

Partial solar eclipse is the most recurring and can  be seen alongside with each of the aforementioned three. It can occur alone. In such case there is no perfect alignment, so Earth transits along the  diffuse shadow  of the moon called the penumbra

Image showing what a partial solar eclipse typically looks like.
Image credit: Himal Bhandari from Nepal

Total solar eclipse is the most thrilling of all the solar eclipses. It occurs when the moon is in a perfect alignment and at its perigee to Earth. As a result of that, the Sun’s disk becomes completely blocked. Regions under the Umbra of the shadow of the moon experience total darkness, and as indicated earlier, regions of the world not under the umbra experiences partial solar eclipse (that is, penumbra). To have the best view of the Sun’s Corona, it is during total solar eclipse. It is not only the best but the only moment to do so. Note: Total solar eclipse occurs ones in every two years somewhere on Earth but any region of the Earth that has ever experienced it will encounter it again in the next 400 years counting from the year in occurred last there.

Portions which fall under the umbra experiences total solar eclipse while parts which fall under the penumbra experiences partial solar eclipses.
Image credit:
What total solar eclipse really looks like. Those white in the background are the Sun Corona.
Image credit: NASA

Annular solar eclipse is the second most spectacular after the total solar eclipse and second most frequent after partial solar eclipse. Like total solar eclipse, it occurs when the moon is on a perfect alignment, but this moment at Apogee. As a result of that, the Sun’s disk is not completely submerged by the moon’s disk. So regions that fall under the Antumbra see a ring of fire called Annualus in Greek while the region which fall under the penumbra see a Partial solar eclipse.

                                                   Image credit:
                                                                 Image credit: NASA

Hybrid Solar Eclipses for a given solar eclipse is the case where by some parts of the Earth perceives it as a total solar eclipse and other perceives it as an annular solar eclipse. This is as a result of the geometry of Earth. It is also called
Annular/Total solar eclipses. This kind of eclipse is the rarest of all. The last time such was experienced was on November 3, 2013.

                                                      Image credit:

On June 21 of this year, we will experience Annual solar eclipse across some parts of: Africa, South – East Europe, Asia and the Pacific.

Regions of the African continent that will come under path of Annularity are: Republic of Congo
Democratic republic of Congo. Central Africa republic
South Sudan
and Into the red sea and beyond.

Nearby countries to these aforementioned ones will experience ONLY partial solar eclipse (penumbra). Every other person can stream it live from this link.

Starting from the Republic of Congo, it will kickoff as a partial solar eclipse at 4:46 a.m (GMT + 1) and then Annular by 5:47 a.m (GMT + 1) an will then move to the East according as depicted on the map below.

                                                                 Path of Annularity
Image credit: national eclipse. com

So if you are in or around these mapped locations and you do want to witness this event, you have to be on the guide from 04:46 a.m (GMT + 1), because  for a given point it will last for less than 3 minutes. the whole event from Africa to Asia, from Penumbra to Annular and back to penumbra will last for 5hrs, 38 minutes.


It is very dangerous to look at the sun with your naked eyes, binoculars or telescope. This Handbook and Posters (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) designed by the African Astronomical Society explains all about the eclipse and how to see it. A free android app on the eclipse has been developed by Alok Mandavgane for the Astronomical Society of India, and adapted for Africa.

Wishing you all a clear skies on June 21st

A Potentially Hazardous Asteroid To Make A Flyby On Saturday (June 6) Morning.

Following the news about the transit of Asteroid 1998 OR2 on April 29, 2020. Another Asteroid dubbed Asteroid 2002 NN4 is set to make a flyby in the early morning hours of Saturday by these times according to the six (6) time zones in Africa:

GMT – 1 =  2:20 am
GMT + 0 = 3:20 am
GMT + 1=  4:20 am
GMT + 2 = 5:20 am
GMT + 3=  6:20 am
GMT + 4 = 7:20 am


Map showing the different time zones in Africa. Image Credit:


Just as the name implies, Asteroid 2002 NN4 was discovered on July 9, 2002.
Compared to Asteroid 1998 OR2, Asteroid 2002 NN4 is lesser in size, its diameter measured as at range of 254 meters to 568 meters according to This is roughly comparable to the size of a football stadium.

More so, according to NASA’s JPL, like Asteroid 1998 OR2, Asteroid 2002 NN4 is also classified as potentially hazardous. Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHA) are the ones whose orbits come closer to Earth at a distance less than or equal to 7.5 million kilometers.
Asteroid 2002 NN4 will pass at a safe distance of approximately 5.1 million kilometers, which is about more than 13 times the distance from the Earth to the moon.


              Image showing Earth’s orbit round the sun. Image credit:

Image showing the orbits of Asteroid 2020 NN4 and Earth. Image credit:

To play around with the orbit simulation, click here.

Generally, Both Asteroid 1998 OR2, Asteroid 2002 NN4 and 1,679 other Asteroids  are  grouped under a certain  category called Aten-Class or Apollo Asteroids. These are group of Asteroids whose orbital paths bring them in close proximity to Earth.

                   Image credit: Wikipedia


Lan O’Neill of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said: “In short, 2002 NN4 is a very well-known asteroid with a known orbit that will pass Earth at a (very) safe distance.”

The Asteroid makes a complete revolution about the sun within 300 days. It spins about its axis every 14 days 30 minutes.

Since the transit of Asteroid 2002 NN4 is slated for Saturday morning, Stars gazers around Africa maybe able to spot it using their backyard telescopes. It can also be viewed via various NASA channels or agencies serving the same purpose.


Lunar Eclipse + Strawberry Full Moon. What Holds For Africa.

Every year, our planet Earth is capable of experiencing  four (4) to seven (7) eclipses.
But this year 2020, we will experience only six (6) of them: four (4) lunar and two (2) solar eclipses.
We have already witnessed a penumbra lunar eclipse earlier this year on January 10.
This June month alone, we will experience two (2) of them, each of solar and lunar.
The lunar eclipse will occur on June 5th and the solar eclipse, on 21st.

Lunar eclipse occurs when Earth comes between the sun and the moon and its shadow falls on the moon.

There are three (3) different kinds of Lunar eclipse:

The total
The partial
The Penumbra lunar eclipse.


Image showing how the different kinds of Lunar eclipses look like.  Image credit: Earthsky


Image credit: Time and Date

During the total lunar eclipse, the three: Sun, Earth (at middle) and moon are on a straight line.
Here, the moon is completely submerged into the umbral of the Earth and we observe the red moon. This kind is the most impressive of all. And can be seen by everyone. The last time we witnessed this was on January 20/21, 2019.


Images showing how the moon is wholly within the umbral of Earth during total Lunar eclipse. Image credit: Mocomi


The red Moon.Image credit: NASA

For partial lunar eclipse, with Earth still in between the Sun and the  moon but do not form a straight line, what is observed is a small part of the moon covered by the umbral of the Earth. It is the second most impressive and the last time such occurred was on July 16, 2019.


Image shows part of the moon covered by the umbral of Earth. Image credit: Mocomi


Part of the lit side of the moon is covered by the umbral of Earth. Image credit: Time and Date

Penumbra lunar eclipse is the one in which the Moon crosses the Earth’s diffuse shadow and it does not appear red. In fact, it is hardly noticed and it looks pretty much like a normal full moon. A slight dimming of the lunar disk is usually observed. This is the one that we are expecting on June 5th, 2020.


How a penumbra lunar eclipse looks like. Image credit: Earthsky


Image showing the start, maximum and end of penumbra lunar eclipse. image credit: Hong Kong Observatory

What is general for all kinds of lunar eclipses is that they do not require any aid for use to be able to observe them. So, starting from June 4th till 6th, there will be a full moon. During these periods, will lie behind the moon, is a  red supergiant star by name Antares. Which is the brightest star in the constellation Scorpius the scorpion


Image credit: nemesis maturity

But the  real event  starts on the 5th. Regions such as: Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa are the ones that will be privileged to witness it.

Image credit:

This Penumbra lunar eclipse is expected to last for three (3) hours, eighteen (18) minutes.
The time from start to end for the six (6) time zones across Africa are below:

Image showing the six time zones in Africa. Red corresponds to GMT – 1 and Black corresponds to GMT + 4. Image credit:


Table showing the start, maximum and end of the lunar eclipse for the six time zones of Africa. image credit: AWbNigeria


Why was it called “Strawberry Full moon?”

Like every other cultures in the world has a name and meaning they call each full moon of any given month. The name “strawberry moon” dates back to the native Americans. June was that period of the year for harvesting strawberries. On the other hand, strawberries are not native to the Europeans, so they call theirs, “Rose moon”

Hence, we call it Strawberry full moon or Rose full moon.

As you go outside to observe the lunar eclipse + full moon, I wish you a clear night sky.